2x 20ft Shipping Container Livable Apartment Size.

  Size doesn’t matter springs to mind in conversation but often it does in some strange way. Mainly because people don’t realise how much space they aren’t using or more importantly how much electric, cooling,heating they waste for floor space they don’t actually need. Here is the joke though this is the apartment I work from and rent out to tenants, none of which have ever complained about size if anything its bigger than a lot of apartments of the same budget :-

apartment bedroom

We decided to keep it as a studio type (no central wall) to help keep the air flowing as well as giving extra space when needed. There is actually now a wardrobe I built covering the electrical box in the corner to the bed, giving a lot of extra storage space. But as you can see there is even space for an extra sofa bed.

apartment sitting room

Now this is where its funny as you can see the sitting room area isn’t actually being utilised as generally people sit on the sofa bed and watch TV in what would be the bedroom. an 8ft by 10ft floor area not being used.

apartment kitchen

A galley styled kitchen keeps things simple but has everything that people generally need. This is the Philippines so microwave food doesn’t exist so neither does the need for a microwave. Bearing in mind I will add more shelving at the end of the kitchen above the refrigerator for the dry goods.

Well what is the point to all this nice look round an apartment but its not a shipping container?

Fact is I was sat working up here the other night and realised something its smaller than 2 x 20ft containers. But I guess if I did the same with a shipping container and gave more space I bet people would say its “too small” simply because they knew it was made from shipping containers. Yet this has been rented out for over 2 years now with several tenants the last leaving a couple of weeks ago while the next arrives in 2 weeks. Not one person has ever said “its too small”.

A bit of a plus on the shipping container side as simply people have been living in spaces smaller than 2x20ft containers but didn’t even realise. In construction terms though here in the Philippines you could build the same sized home with containers for less than P300,000 can’t give an exact figure simply because container prices fluctuate. But your containers come in at around P60,000 – P100,000 each (big price variance).

Sleep Box – For Weary Travellers

Airport Sleep box modular building

Not exactly a modular home but its still modular in form. These would be a welcome sight in many an airport as it would allow a quick nap with all your luggage secure, making those long haul flights with long waits between destinations at airports bearable. Arch Group came up with this novel idea and its size is only 4 square metres in floor space. Mood setting LED’s adjust to give you the ambience you need to relax and it has just enough room to suit 3 people to have a power nap before carrying on with the journey.

Thing is travellers are more concerned about time and money. Going to a hotel takes both and shelling out on an overpriced airport hotel at that. These temporary and moveable structures offer up a very viable solution as you can rent it for as little as 30 minutes. Good ventilation also helps keep the Sleepbox fresh as well as electric blinds to help shut out unwanted light and a bit of privacy to get changed.

Airport Sleep box modular building Airport Sleep box modular building Airport Sleep box modular building Airport Sleep box modular building

How To Find A Shipping Container

When looking to buy a Shipping Container for property use of some description the first issues should be what planning issues you may hit. In many cases the regulations don’t interfere with shipping containers as they are seen as “temporary buildings”. I know someone who has a huge shed which has only two restrictions which were height and square metre size “per year”. This meant that although he couldn’t go any higher than one level he has literally built to his maximum square metre limit every year for the last 10 years giving him a workshop that covers at least 800sqm of floor space more than he will ever need. At the same time due to the type of work he did it also suited him as the majority of materials were recovered from replacements on roofs of properties he was repairing that the owners were just glad to see the end of.

Now if your unsure or thinking your going to struggle hit the car and head round looking for people in your area and maybe ask in places like Yahoo answers about “city building codes” in your areas. The reason for this is if you can find people who have already done it you can find out how they got round the problem. Often it can be a green city engineer involved who can help push the idea and get it passed. Before I submit any paperwork for requirements I normally sketch up some rough plans and invite those who are likely to oppose the idea to come and view the location and talk about it as well as show them how it won’t become an eye sore to the area but actually enhance it.

Once your sure the planning isn’t going to be an issue its time to start hunting a container down. Ports may be the obvious way to find a container but what about searching for hauliers in the area? For example one near my parents delivers wine to a warehouse everyday but the containers leave empty back to port. This means there is a good chance you can cut a deal on the container delivered to your door if they have a spare one available saving on the commuting costs as you will hopefully only be paying for the container plus the delivery cost from when its unloaded at the yard if anything.

Classified ads are another place to find containers but often you will come across containers that don’t have any way of being loaded which means you have the expense of loading and unloading which is fine if you can locate equipment near both locations to do it or negotiate that loading is the sellers problem. Often though in the classifieds you can find shipping containers for free because they may have been put in location for a tool shed for example while an office complex or house was built and now its in the way, which is why it may pay to get one of these especially near the end of a construction job as there may be a JCB or other machinery that can lift it already on site and a quick £20 in the drivers pocket and your loaded.

Shipping container homes in Japan – Tsunami disaster relief

Ex-Container project is a joint effort to deal with the widespread displaced populations after the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Rapid constructive, quick to site and cheap are all positive reasons that made containers the ideal home to be implimented for the housing crisis. Although this isn’t reusing shipping containers but in fact fabricating new ones to fit in with Japanese regulations it also help speed up the completion times of homes as well as reduce unneeded materials. E.g. if you look at the photo below you can see 3/4 of the floor space is missing as the container below it has the floor/ceiling. This reduces transportation costs and gets the units to where they are needed quicker. The information on where the units came from is a bit sketchy but a previous project quotes a factory in Thailand which would make sense with the current issues within Japan affecting its manufacturing industries.

Reading up on the buildings they are only allowed to be sited for a maximum of 2 years due to Japanese construction codes. Although hopefully by this time the displaced people would have started to rebuild their lives and their buildings. At the same time I do wonder where all the units will go afterwards, I know in the UK we move them around site to site for construction work and I could see this being the case of utilizing these buildings in some other way than just stacking them up incase of another disaster.


shipping container home being dropped into place - Japan container home being constructed in Thailand container homes japan container homes japanex-container project - JapanBayside Marina Hotel (Yokohama, Japan)